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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The T-Rex

We do our best to protect our kid from the dangers of bad dreams.   When you try to explain something scary in a movie that they may have seen, it can go all wrong.    You don’t want to downplay the act as something that is acceptable in real life, say a fight between two people.  You explain, “Those are actors, and after the scene changes, they get up and go on being friends or coworkers.  It’s not real.  That’s not blood.  That’s like ketchup or something.”  Unfortunately, for me, I may have ruined my child for good when it comes to the magic of movies.

Growing up at the beginning of the Sci-Fi blockbuster genre, circa 1977, I was completely blown away by Star Wars and Indiana Jones and other fantastic sights on screen.  Even as an adult, the sight of a dinosaur in Jurassic Park was magical.

By today’s standards, it barely registers on a movie goers radar, but in 1993, when the best CGI effects were still yet to come, that sight was something that made the movie geek in me squeee nearly out loud.

At the age of two, noticing that my own kid had an affection for dinosaurs, I made the choice to let her watch it.    We talked about it, and I made her fully aware that it was not really a dinosaur.  Even went as far as to show her the behind the scenes stuff with the models, and green screen, and animatronic characters used in making the film.  She accepted it and loved it anyway.   We also happened upon Ghostbusters on cable and she ate that up like Slimer in a hot dog cart.  Again, I had to explain the ghosts, and the dogs, and Stay Puft.   She accepted it, and loved it.

At almost six, she is now quick to point out any scene in a television show or movie that is “not real”.   She happened upon me playing Dead Island of all things, and I let her watch me play it, with the subtitles on, so I could cough, clear my throat, or “Hablaedfhaefhah” over the bad language.   Now, I could be perceived as the worst parent in the world, here.  Dead Island is a far cry from House of the Dead II & III which she saw my father-in-law and I play on many occasions a couple years before.   I told her, this could be scary, and if you start to have issues with it, I’m quitting it.

“No, Daddy.  It’s not going to give me nightmares.“
“Why do you know that?”
“Because.  That’s not real blood.  It’s like ketchup or something.”
OK, she hasn’t made the distinction between video games and films being made in different ways, yet.  But, she has become quite the backseat gamer.
“Daddy, stop going through all that luggage.  The zombie will come get you.”
“Daddy, leave that zombie, over there, alone.  It’s not bothering you.”  I go and bother the zombie and fifteen more appear out of nowhere and kill me.  “See?  What did I tell you?”

Touche, kiddo.

But I worry.  I worry not for the chance that she’s going to grow up with a detached sense of right or wrong or even that she is going to be desensitized to the point of grabbing a high powered rifle and climbing into a clock tower.  I’m worried that, as she gets a little older and I can share more films with her that struck a chord in me at that age, she will not be impressed because, “I can see the wires” or “That’s ketchup.”  There are so many fantastical movies that are full immersion into a suspended disbelief from my generation.  Even today, the adaptations of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit are beautiful in terms of CGI.  But, she will just see pick apart the process that created them, because I was worried she’d have nightmares.

She had to accept death at such an early age and we didn’t pull any punches with explaining what happened to her maternal grandmother.   They were great friends and she loved her Grammy so much.   To see her in a hospital, on life support, after having a brain hemorrhage.  To remember the image, and now always recall “Grammy’s Yellow Hair” from the surgery to try and relieve the pressure, kills me.  But, we didn’t want to say, “Grammy’s sleeping” and we didn’t want to deemphasize the importance of what has happened, so we gave it to her straight.  And now, the kid has more knowledge about life and death than most her age.

She may never develop that “suspension of disbelief” in films because she learned at such an early age to, pay attention to that man behind the curtain.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Final Thoughts on Skyfall

Purists cling to the roots of what they know.  They are specific and unwavering in their devotion to an established format.

Bond purists have 50 years of material to either embrace or rage against.   They want their Bond films to follow the formula, never deviating from the point.  If at all possible, they want the films to circle back to Ian Fleming’s canonical center.

I am a Bond purist in flux because I also have a theatre background.    That background takes into account the source material and looks for ways to interpret it in a manner that suits a time and place more closely associated with what’s going on in the world.   I look at Shakespeare and see the ways it can be done in an Elizabethan setting as well as a strip mall outside of Red Bank, New Jersey.

The Craig era of Bond films have deviated from the original formula much like the 1985 timeline in Back to the Future Part II, where Biff is corrupt, powerful, and married to Marty’s mother.  But this deviation isn’t a bad thing.  It’s similar to what J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek and I’m sure Star Trek purists rage quit the Internet after that movie came out.   But Bond’s deviation with Daniel Craig in the role has made Bond less gimmicky and silly.  There are no slide whistles going off when Bond performs a slow motion jump over something like in The Man With the Golden Gun.

But, as Skyfall course corrects into future Bond films, the danger is that the films will stagger down the same path as its predecessors.    The hokey gags, chases, and fourth wall obliteration need to be stricken from the writers’ minds and focus on the material and how they can interpret it in our current world.    Bond has a tendency to become content in his skin and the movies serve to be an indication as to when the series needs a fresh start.   At the time, watching A View To a Kill was nothing short of childlike giddiness, but as an adult, watching it on my Blu-Ray collection, it became painful.  At 57, Roger Moore’s age makes it harder to suspend disbelief that he could fashion a snowboard from the runner of a snow mobile, cruising down the slopes with the Beach Boys playing in the background.

Craig has one thing going for him with Bond that the other actors didn’t.  His Bond seemed older from the start.  Even though the series was given a pseudo reboot with him earning his double O status in Casino Royale, Craig was cranky as Bond in the first scene.  Now, Connery had gruff early on as did Moore, but there were plenty of lighter moments peppered throughout the films.  And that’s not to say that Craig hasn’t had fun moments in the three films. He has.  The continual breaking into M’s home shows he’s still impish, but his initial exchange with Q shows his disdain for those “Damn kids and their video games”.

This being Judi Dench’s final go at M gives her all the time in the world to chew up scenery and leave her mark on the role and she delivers in spades.    The film is more of a character study at the fallibility of people and their attempts to put things right.  Redemption for betrayal as it were.   The redemption of a son who couldn't save his parents from their death by saving a surrogate from a madman.  The redemption of a "mother" who put her "sons" in harm's way.  The redemption of a woman who had some trouble in the field and is now the closest thing Bond has to a real relationship with a woman.

I give Skyfall 3 out of 4 stars.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blinging Bond: Part Four of the Skyfall Review

Now, pay attention everyone.

We’ve got Bonds, Baddies, and Babes covered….  It’s time to take a look at the Bling of Bond in our Skyfall review.

From word No, Bond has been outfitted with some of the coolest cars and gadgets this side of a Brookstone store.  There were exploding pens, jet packs, and a Lotus that drove underwater, to name a few.   Bond has also sported the latest in Rolex Submariner’s though I doubt any of them actually told the time.  

Sometimes, they became a trope when it was pretty apparent that the ridiculous specificity of the object directly related to a life or death situation Bond was put in later on in the film.  Q must have had a machine that could see the future, much like another film that used random objects for specific tasks, Paycheck.

And how about Q?  Over the years, the Quartermaster has been played by roughly six actors, both EON and non-EON films, however, none was more well known that Desmond Llewelyn who played Q from 1963 until his death in 1999. 

While other actors may have portrayed the armourer with a more straight forward approach, Llewelyn played it with a certain amount of annoyance at Bond’s attention deficit disorder and lack of care in returning Q’s toys.   Just like, “Bond, James Bond” is a staple quote from 007 in nearly every film, Q is often quoted with “Now, pay attention 007” and “Do be careful with these”  though, he never does.

With The World is Not Enough, Q’s eventual successor, R, is introduced in John Cleese.  He then took over the role after Llewelyn’s death in 1999.  

Somewhat of a foreboding feeling seeing Q lowering himself into the ground soon after introducing his successor.

There was no new ground tread in the portrayal of Q by Cleese.  He returned to the format Llewelyn followed closely for over three decades.   Perhaps it was meant more as a tribute, rather than making the character his own.  You can see it in his delivery of the line, “As I learned from my predecessor, Bond, I never joke about my work.”  Though, you can see he was heading in a comedic direction in The World Is Not Enough.  Or, perhaps it was a directorial decision as the scene showcases a few Easter Eggs for the 40th anniversary of Bond.  You can see the show knife and jet pack prominently in the scene, above.

This was the last we would see of Q for 10 years.  It’s a shame that Cleese did not follow Bond into the Craig years.  However, in a way, it was probably for the best.  Apart from keeping M for continuity, having someone else from the old regime could have dragged the rebirth of Bond down into the mess that was Die Another Day

With Skyfall, we have the return of Q Branch.  Ben Wishaw, who looked more like Cillian Murphy in this film, plays Q more as a computer geek than gadget master.    He calls out Bond for being more of a blunt instrument than an efficient and highly specialized tool.   Making Q younger than Bond shows more about Craig’s seasoned and weary status as Bond than it does about Wishaw’s rookie turn as the armourer, but there is a recollection to the earlier years with Bond’s “You must be joking” line.  Though, the filmmakers don’t fall into the trap of retreading the line “I never joke about my work.”  You can see, though, that Q and Bond will be off on a good foot in this scene, no hidden knife required.

I do like a younger Q, though I’m not sure we really need a hipster Quartermaster.    The gadgets are simple and well placed with a radio tracker and Bond’s palm-print reader enabled Walther PPK.  However, the filmmakers make the same stupid mistake as nearly every other film in the history of films involving computer interfaces.  I call it the Weird Science effect.   

If you were born in the mid to late 90s and don't know this film, shame on you, for starters. Weird Science was a John Hughes film from 1985, where two geeks build a woman with their computer.   What follows is a highly stylized yet totally unrealistic portrayal of what a hacker would see in their attempts to break into various systems.  The same ridiculous type of computer hacking scenes also take place in Jurassic Park, Hackers, Sneakers, The Net, Independence Day, Disclosure, Swordfish, Wargames 2, Live Free or Die Hard, and now Skyfall

My biggest problem with the entire movie is that they go to great pains to show Q as a computer security geek, able to decipher anything, and not only do they show a totally stupid computer setup during Silva’s escape, they actually make Q a victim of his own hubris.  Why can’t Hollywood get computer hacking right? 

Qualms aside, it's nice to have Q back in the business of outfitting Bond with the latest in high tech office supplies.  Let's just hope there are no invisible cars in Craig's future.  I'd like him to be around for awhile.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bedding Bond: Part Three of the Skyfall Review

I know. I know. It seems like I haven’t talked about this since last year and now Skyfall is like old news. Well, I got busy, my kid got sick, and the holidays came.

Back to this. I finally got my PS3 replaced, so now I can enjoy my new box set… and I will continue with my thoughts on Bond and Skyfall with this entry discussing the women of 007.

(SPOILERS AHEAD) Just in case.

The Bond Girl, or Woman, is as much of an ingredient as the other parts to the formula that makes Bond an enduring franchise. From Ursula Andress’ emergence from the water in Dr. No to... unfortunately, Halle Berry’s in Die Another Day, the Bond girl advances the storyline, gums up the works, and motivates Bond to do just about anything for a little bit of shagging at the end.

I wish I had more time to go through a list of all the Bond girls/women to delve deep into this integral part of the franchise. Perhaps, I’ll circle back after viewing some of the material from the Bond 50 discs.

For now, the thing you need to know is that there are two types of Bond girl… Actually, three.

The Match
This is the girl who Bond usually ends up with at the end. Sometimes, they have the cool, almost entendre worthy name like Plenty O’Toole or Pussy Galore. Sometimes, they are more subtle, but just as pun filled like Christmas Jones or Tiffany Case.

The formula usually works like this. They either work for the villain, either unknowingly or against their will (in the case of Vesper Lynd or Domino) or they are working against the villain from another agency like Jinx Johnson or Wai Lin.

In either scenario, they end up being rescued or escaping with Bond and usually end up having sex with him as M or other British dignitaries try to contact him with congratulations.

The Sacrificial Lamb
The second type of Bond Girl/Woman is the sacrificial lamb. Now, not every sacrificial lamb is a girl. In For Your Eyes Only it was Luigi Ferrara, Bond’s contact in Italy. In A View To A Kill, it was Tibbett, Bond’s chauffer who was an MI6 agent well versed in horse training. However, for the sake of the argument, the sacrificial lamb in this case is always a woman.

The formula for who becomes the S.L. is usually this: she’s the wife, girlfriend, or other woman in the villain’s employ. Probably the most iconic S.L. is Jill Masterson, whose death has become a cornerstone of the Bond mythos when she was killed by epidermal suffocation due to being covered entirely in gold paint after betraying Goldfinger as he was cheating at cards… and more importantly, sleeping with the enemy.

Some of the other S.L. Bond girls/women include:
  • Aki You Only Live Twice – Bond’s Japanese contact who inadvertently is killed in an assassination attempt on Bond with the ole poison dripping down the thread trick.
  • Paris CarverTomorrow Never Dies - wife of Elliot Carver, who also had a previous relationship with Bond and was killed by Dr. Kaufman in an attempt to get rid of her and Bond.
  • Tracy BondOn Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Occupies both the The Match and Sacrificial Lamb role as the wife of Bond and daughter of SPECTRE connected Union Corse head, Marc Ange Draco. Gunned down by Irma Bunt at the end of the film.
Now, third Bond Girl/Woman slot is filled with the same character in every film she appears in. For her, there has always been an unrequited and unresolved sexual tension between her and Bond. There is plenty of flirting and innuendo that occurs between them, but she knows Bond is who he is and refuses to be listed among his conquests. Yet, she has a soft spot for Bond and he for her. That woman is, of course, Moneypenny.

So, how does this all relate into Skyfall? Skyfall turns the entire formula upside down while maintaining the essentials… and you’ll have to bear with me on this.

As the film starts out, Naomie Harris’ Eve fills the role of The Match Bond girl… we think. She nearly kills Bond… which is typical of the kind of bumbling that is associated with Bond Girls like Mary Goodnight in The Man With the Golden Gun or Jill St. John in Diamonds Are Forever. She also has an intimate moment with Bond during the “shaving scene”… we think. Turns out, by the end of the film, there is no way she could have slept with Bond, even though it may be implied and not shown. We know this, because at the end, she reveals her full name to be Eve Moneypenny. Now, you may say, “Oh, he definitely shagged her after the shaving scene.” To that I say…. “Then why not show it, even in its most demure fashion?”

The Sacrificial Lamb is easily identifiable as Sévérine, the accomplice of Silva who took part in the assassination in Shanghai, but later softened to Bond at the casino when he promised to kill Silva for her. Her fate was sealed with that betrayal, and was shot by Silva, firing squad style.

So, that leaves us with the Bond Girl in this picture.

What? You say there wasn’t one? Oh, really? There’s one more woman in this film, and I’m not talking about the girl Bond was shagging between bottles of booze and pills after his “death”.

After watching the film, I realized that the real Bond girl in this film was Judi Dench, M. The formula works. She was associated with the villain, though HE worked for her. She helped Bond take him down at the end, by posing as bait. She ended up in Bond’s arms, even though she died. While not objectifying or sexualizing her character as The Match, there is an undeniable romanticized relationship between them.

M filled more of a maternal role for Bond in the Daniel Craig films. That all ends with Tanner assuming the role in the next film(s), However, I will miss Judi Dench terribly in that role. She was fantastic in the last seven outings.

Bernard Lee was the template, serving for 17 years and three Bond actors. Robert Brown is probably the most recognizable by me since he was there during the Moore and Dalton years, my formal upbringing on Bond films, but Dench made the character more of an active participant than just the boss who barks orders, shakes their head at Bond’s tomfoolery, and then says, “007” at the end, when Bond is caught with his girl, post coital. In Skyfall, maybe Dench was meant to be given a larger role as M, due to it being her swan song. I don’t know if her eyesight was the reason for her “retirement” or if this was planned. As it is, Skyfall does not share source material with any Flemming or other Bond writer novel. In fact, the last film only shared the title with a story from the Bond canon, while the plot was completely unrelated.

So, there you have it, mind blown. M is/was the latest Bond Girl. I will try to finish up this week, while I have some momentum and move on to other things like Top Ten Eyeroll movies coming in 2013.

Friday, January 4, 2013

One Does Not Simply Barf Into Mordor

People always ask, “How was your Christmas?” This year was a down year. There are more reasons than I care to relate, but the biggest was having a kid with the stomach flu on Christmas morning. Now, I don’t believe it was the stomach flu, because neither my wife nor I came down with it. That may seem trivial but the kid had three separate bouts of stomach issues across a week, where the stomach flu usually lasts around 12-24 hours. We both thought it was strep as the kid has had the same symptoms without being contagious in the past. But, her pediatrician, Ted Nugent (He looked and sounded like a cross between Ted Nugent and Joey Slotnick with a goatee that stuck out like four feet from his chin), said it was the stomach flu. Anyway, I want to explain to you, in Mongo terms, what Christmas was like for us.

Now, I am going to give you a visual marker and I want you to remember it. It will help as this is how I can only describe what happened.

Do you remember somewhere around the last third of the film, The Return of the King… which had about 14 different endings… the part where Sam and Frodo are stuck on a rock in a river of lava? If not, I’ll sum up.

Gollum attacks Frodo who has given himself over to the One Ring. Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger, which I heard is no harder to do than to bite through a carrot stick. That’s a little tip for you playing at home or in a bar. Anyway, Gollum and Frodo fight for the Ring and he falls over the edge and pulls a Terminator 2 with the Ring in the lava. Frodo and Sam hightail it out of the Crack of Doom as everything goes to shit and Mount Doom erupts.

After high fiving each other for completing the journey… they have an “Oh FUQ!” moment when they realize they are now stuck in the middle of the flowing lava. Soon, the eagles come to their rescue, which was the one thing that made no sense, because they could have just flown on the eagles from The Shire and it would have been a half hour long movie…. But I digress. So, keep that image of Sam and Frodo adrift in your mind. If you are still having trouble… here…

Now, on the 23rd of December, I took my kid out for a bit of last minute shopping, while my wife wrapped presents and cleaned for company to come over on Christmas Eve. The last thing I really wanted to do was take my kid out into the madness that was the shopping mall on the day before Christmas Eve, but she helped pick out some great Yankee Candle stuff for my wife and she had a ball playing some floor projected video game which uses your shadow like a controller as you step on an area of the floor.

As a reward for her good behavior, I took her to Cold Stone Creamery for some ice cream. Ok… I wanted to get some and used her as an excuse to get some. She had a standard kids cup with chocolate and we went home.

After a bit, she started complaining of a stomach ache and ran around the house clutching her tummy and I yelled… get to the bathroom. So, she sat there a good 20 minutes and finally let it all out. Then, before I could assist her, I heard it. I heard the familiar sound of the child spewing used ice cream all over the tile floor in the bathroom. I ran into the bathroom to the back porch to grab the garbage can she and my wife both used two weeks before when they both had the stomach flu… the real deal. It was empty, but we just hadn’t disinfected the can, yet. As I turned the corner into the bathroom, it was too late, again. Mount Doom had erupted… everywhere.

I managed to reach the can over to her as she finished vomiting into it. Now, she was trapped. Not only was she sitting, with dangled feet, on the toilet, but she was stuck in the middle of a used ice cream flow, with no escape. She was Sam and Frodo, awaiting death on the side of Mount Doom. Here, I was, Gandalf, riding in on the backs of giant eagles.

I used a good portion of a roll of paper towels just to clean up a path as I told her to sit tight. Once I got that cleaned up, I could get her cleaned up. She was then told to just stand out in the living room, naked and not sitting on anything, while I exorcised the rest of Captain Howdy’s Pea Soup out of the bathroom.

As she shivered in her nakedness in our living room, I scrubbed and Lysol wiped everything I could. The Christmas shower curtain was now speckled, as were the towels and floor rug we had just put into the bathroom. After finishing my crime scene clean up, I gave the kid a hot bath and called it a day.

This is how I know it was not the Stomach Flu. As I cleaned out the garbage can, I simply rinsed it down in the tub before scrubbing it with Clorox Cleanup and Lysol Wipes. I turned on the bathtub to rinse down the remaining liquid and it splashed up and hit me in the face as if it was that liquid from the cylinder in The Prince of Darkness. I never got sick.

Perhaps it was luck… or a trick…

Do not take me for a conjurer of cheap tricks.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WUMF: December 2012 Edition

Yeah…. So I was kind of hoping the Mayans would be right and I wouldn’t have to do a WUMF entry for December. But, they weren’t, so I have to. Then again, I looked back at 2012 and realized I did December 2011’s in January of 2012. At least I’m consistent. Here’s your WUMF.

Death Takes Over a Holiday
As I stated in one of my last entries of 2012, the D-bag award was handed over to Mr. Reaper, without contest. OK, part of it was I wasn’t feeling it. Though, the ends justified the means. In the last week and a half, we lost a good many people; celebrity and non-celebrity. And considering the news of what recently happened in Pakistan with cops and teachers being killed, Death earned the title back from the likes of BP and Jerry Sandusky. Here’s hoping he’s not such a douche in 2013.

Speaking of Not Feeling It
Let’s face it… I’ve been doing this blog for just about four years and I can tell you, the Internet lies… there is no money to be made off of blogging…. unless you are selling something other than your words. And quite frankly, the technology to block those ads have caught up to Google. Hell, I use Adblock myself. It’s a wonderful thing to have when you rely on YouTube to keep you informed of pop culture and humor. Then again, I actually wanted to join the ranks of the craptastic YouTubers who make money on there. Unfortunately, I neither have the talent, time, or content to even put together a decent blog post anymore, let alone a video.

Speaking of Decent Blog Posts
Yeah, I owe my four and a half readers some Skyfall posts. And… I promise they are coming. Really… I swear.  Whether they’re crap or gold remains to be seen.

The Return To Angry
I think I might have strayed away from my original brand. I sort of softened and let the Internet slang in to my work. I guess I sold out a little. Well, that ends this year. I’m bringing angry back. With that…

End of the Year Review
Here’s what I came up with…
Governor Tom Corbett – You didn’t feel it was appropriate to spend tax payer monies on fully investigating PSU and Jerry Sandusky while you were State Attorney General and running for governor. However, you find it necessary to spend tax payer monies, now, to sue the NCAA over the sanctions and penalties against PSU for what you failed to investigate… and you are running for re-election…next year. So, you didn’t want to piss off a majority of the voting population of PA, who probably hold a PSU degree, when you wanted their vote… and now you’re out to buy their vote. Well, played.

Hugh Hefner – You married your runaway bride, who is 60 years younger than you. Um… you both have no shame… and gay people aren’t allowed to marry in all states? Really?

Kanye and Kim - She said she was going to let him finish… and he did… now she’s pregnant with his baby… and still married to Kris Humphries… Well… this will be the first time half of America will get to see something coming out of her instead of going in her. Congratulations. I guess we see who wears the leather skirt in this relationship.

Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve Review
  • Oh look… there’s that hot band from 2012 playing in the corner of the screen while the fucking Disney store logo is in the middle of the screen. Thanks ABC.
  • Neon Trees lead singer looked like Pee Wee Herman dipped in bleach and glitter.
  • Fergie thinks she’s Queen Latifah and, unfortunately, Queen Latifah is whiter than her.
  • Jenny McCarthy can finally start to stalk Justin Bieber without penalty for statutory rape… and she’s not exactly coy about it. My advice, Biebs…. Throw her a bone… she tends to like creepy man-child Canadians. You’ll finally hit puberty and with any luck, she’ll devour you and suffer indigestion… saving the rest of us.
  • Pitbull has as many moves as Derek Zoolander… and he got bumped from the Live feed in Times Square to the rehashed crap in Hollywood. That Men In Black song takes on a whole new meaning. And… I think he had a fresh herpes sore on his mouth.
  • Taylor Swift – “I just met this guy back stage, dated him, and broke up with him in a matter of minutes… GRAMMY SONGWRITER LEVEL – PRO.” Look, you have a ton of money…. It’s time to start getting music lessons. Your live performances are hideously out of tune and I can’t understand why you are STILL so friggin’ popular.
  • And the winner of the night – Dick Clark for dying before this abomination ever happened.
Seriously, I admit it, I was a prick for laughing at how bad it was getting when Dick Clark was counting down the ball drop. He was three seconds behind and, OK, yeah, the guy had a stroke… but come on, Ryan Seacrest was slowly stealing that from him. In fact, I think Ryan Seacrest caused that stroke with some kind of Faustian deal with Simon Cowell. He has millions, will probably own or produce half of everything in two years, and is dating Julianne Hough. He’s got to be on the devil’s payroll. And like Ted Wass, he will eventually have to pay the devil back and I’m not sure there will be an epic-all in-soul-pot-for-the-taking poker hand between a set of dueling George Burns. But wouldn’t that be awesome?

Dick Clark was a businessman. He laid the groundwork and Seacrest is just following the template. It’s almost a Greek myth at work where the mightiest of Gods are usually overthrown by their sons… or it’s just a Star Wars Sith prophecy. In this case, Seacrest is Darth Vader and Dick Clark was Palpatine.

The problem with the DCRNYE celebration is that it’s pandering, now, to teens and 20-somethings who will end up staying in on New Year’s Eve in a couple years. It used to mean something. Now, it’s a commercial for the crappiest acts manufactured by Simon Cowell, ABC and the EvilCorp that is Disney. I really don’t think, under Dick Clark’s production, that the quality of the broadcast and performances would have been allowed to reach this ridiculous depth of commercialism and self indulgence.

I feel better now.  I feel like I purged the last of my soul and now I can continue to be the angry old prick I should be.   Let's hear it for 2013.

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